Communication

Communication

Staff outside Stromness Post Office.
On the eve of war the Post Office not only handled a yearly total 5.9 billion items of post but was responsible for the nation’s telegraph and telephone systems, as well as providing savings bank and other municipal facilities at thousands of branches.

At the beginning of the war, in order to gain wider powers over national security, the Government introduced the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914 (DORA). The new legislation gave the Government the power, if need be, to censor the press. Under the new legislation and military authority, the coverage of the war in its early stages was speculative. There were many generalisations and few, if any, facts.

But the war and its effects were communicated through a variety of mediums. The picture postcard became the favoured method through which the troops at the front and their family and friends on the home front communicated. Scotland had a love affair with postcards. Indeed, when they were first introduced they became very popular and the Postmaster-General claimed the largest number was sent from Scotland.

By 1914 the Post Office employed over 250,000 people. On the eve of war the Post Office not only handled a yearly total 5.9 billion items of post but was responsible for the nation’s telegraph and telephone systems, as well as providing savings bank and other municipal facilities at thousands of branch post offices.

Poetry, both professional and amateur, became a favoured outlet for expressing anti-war sentiments, camaraderie  and sacrifice.

Serving men and women kept diaries that later became important sources of information for historians.